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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ara's Beef Noodle Casserole

A take-off on Beef Stroganoff, this is a lower-cost but still tasty casserole we had for dinner last night. If you don't like the tart sour cream flavor imbued in Beef Stroganoff, you won't likely enjoy this think before you invest the time and effort into making it.  If you like a strong cream cheese and sour cream combo - you will love it.  Not the same "gravy" base as Stroganoff - much more cheesey.  My hubby and I gave it an "okay" rating (5 on a scale of 1-10) and the teen wouldn't even eat half of his very small serving.  He said it was too cheesey...I think he meant the cream cheese component. I think I would adjust the casserole by using a larger can of needed a bit more of the "sauce".

Pharmacist Ara Wisnoski, another Shoal Creek co-worker, brought this to the table in the 90's.  I was lucky enough to pack up the hospital's recipe contest entries (the ones I wanted) when it was sold in 1998.  I packed the boxes for storage and knew these would either be trashed or else would fall into a black abyss of "never to be seen again" so I just took the ones I liked with me.  I've used a lot of them over and over - this one I haven't served in over 10 years, but I was happy to wipe the dust off this recipe, because I remember many people enjoyed it...maybe more than we did...but everyone has different tastes, so I went through the process of making it again to see if it was something we might add back into rotation.  Probably not, because if the teen won't eat it, it isn't worth it.

If you try it, let me know if you like it.


1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped (not in original recipe - but I added and like it with onion)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1 14 1/2-ounce can whole tomatoes (do not drain) - I might use a larger can if I make this again.
Garlic Powder and Pepper to taste
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
1/2 pound wide egg noodles (I used whole wheat Gemelli pasta instead, but really preferred the wide egg noodles I remembered from years ago)
3 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream

Brown ground beef and onion together in large skillet, drain.

browning the ground beef and onions

Add sugar, salt, tomato sauce, whole tomatoes, garlic powder and pepper.
Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. (I chunked up the tomatoes while it was cooking)

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain and mix with cream cheese and sour cream.  It helps if your cream cheese is softened.

In a rectangular Pyrex baking dish (I used a pretty baking dish my Mom gave me for Christmas several years ago...pretty sure it's a QVC item!), layer 1/3 beef mixture, 1/2 noodles, 2nd 3rd of beef mixture, last of noodles, final portion of beef mixture.

 Sprinkle grated cheese on top.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

This recipe doubles well for a large gathering.  We had it with green beans, a freshly baked Italian bread, and blackberries with whipping cream for dessert.   Easy, and ready to go within an hour or so of arriving home from a busy day at work or on the beach :-p.  A good week-night meal, regardless of where you spend your daytime hours!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!

Our favorite berry - blackberries

The casserole was good - but this was the best thing on the table!
Blackberries with freshly whipped sweetened cream with vanilla - delicious!!!

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